Tagged in: dalton castle

Six Inconvenient Truths About WWE and Indy Wrestling

I don’t like to editorialize about the WWE, and I don’t like to go negative in this space. That said, after hearing the air get sucked out of the building at the end of the Money in the Bank match, it’s time we face some inconvenient truths.

Inconvenient Truth #1: The WWE doesn’t want to push your favorite indy stars. Over the last several years they WWE has snatched up a dream roster of independent wrestling stars, but it’s becoming clear none of these signees are ever going to be “the guy.” Styles, Owens, and Rollins have done well carrying the top belts for long periods of time, but when push comes to shove, the WWE will always favor their own.

Inconvenient Truth #2: The WWE wants the next top guy(s) to be their guys. Never mind that independent wrestlers bring not only an established fan base but experience and ring saavy to the table. The WWE still believes it can manufacture stars from scratch at its Performance Center and push them over the independents. Get used to seeing Sami Zayn staring up in frustration at the latest home grown wrestler on top of the Money in the Bank ladder. This is your new reality in the WWE.

So why does the WWE continue to mine the independents?

Inconvenient Truth #3: The WWE is spending money on independent wrestlers to bleed the indies dry of their top stars. It’s not about enhancing the roster. It’s about hurting the competition by taking away their marquee stars and using those highly paid signees to put over their chosen elect.

So what does all this mean?

Inconvenient Truth #4: Any independent star who has a WWE contract needs to consider more than just the money. That’s a hard, hard thing to do when you’re looking at going from $25 a night to the top of the business, but is the WWE really going to give you your dream shot? The roster is overcrowded. Guys who were on top all around the world are forced to job to pre-fabbed stars. Dalton Castle, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks have made the right call, staying where they are instead of taking the money for a one way ticket to obscurity. (Remember how excited we all were when Anderson and Gallows got signed?)

Of course it’s easy for the guys who are being paid well to stay put, but what about the guys struggling to make it?

Here comes the most inconvenient truth of all.

Inconvenient Truth #5: Fans who are sick of it need to seriously consider where they spend their money. If you keep paying for a product you hate and refuse to spend a dime on ROH, NJPW, High Spots, CHIKARA, CZW, or any number of alternatives. Am I suggesting you cancel your Network subscription? Not necessarily. I am saying you should stop spending all that fat cash on T-shirts and Pops and Booty-O’s Cereal and spend a little more on a wrestling product you can care about!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: one ticket to a WWE show costs the same amount as six tickets to an independent show; or two tickets and two T-shirts; or a six month subscription to the alternative wrestling network of your choice. The money you spend there goes into the pockets of real men and women who need and appreciate it far more than a faceless corporation that long ago decided it knows better than you what you want to see.

Inconvenient Truth #6: The WWE is not about to change its ways any time soon. Indy stars will continue to take the WWE money, and Inconvenient Truths 1-3 will continue to play out.

Knowing this to be true, you have a choice. You can continue watching a product you hate and griping about it online, or you can make a choice to spend your time and hard-earned money on a wrestling show you do love.

Life’s too short to spend on these Internet rants. I’m going to find something I enjoy.

The Real Elite Athlete

The wrestling business is filled with men who turned to the squared circle after spending most of their lives on the gridiron. From the early days of Bronco Nagurski to the WWE’s Big E, many football players have found a second career and a second chance in wrestling.

Mike Orlando grew up playing football. He played in college and even got a look from the NFL team. Deep down, Mike was never a sports fan. He got into football for one reason: he wanted to look like a wrestler.

Orlando grew up watching the WWE, idolizing the character of the Ultimate Warrior while admiring the technical brilliance of Chris Jericho and Triple H. Orlando recognized the excellence Jericho and Triple H brought to the ring, so when his football days were over, he went to wrestling school to follow in their footsteps.

Orlando’s first stop was Old Time Wrestling in Glassboro NJ. Under the tutelage of former ECW official Jim Molineaux, he learned the basics of how to work in the ring as well as the etiquette of the locker room. Orlando then made his way to the Sanctuare, Jon Patrick Trosky took him under his wing. “This was the deciding factor of my life in wrestling as he took me from a boy playing wrestler and made me into the worker you see today.”

Orlando has worked with a number of stars in his young career including Mike Verna, Dalton Castle, EC3, Chris Masters, and Matt Macintosh, but ask him to name his best match and he’ll tell you, “My best match is yet to happen.” Orlando carries the college football mentality that you are only as good as your last play. He is focused on learning and improving with every opportunity given to him in the hopes it will lead to the ultimate goal: a match at Wrestlemania.

Ask him to name a dream opponent and Orlando goes right back to his days as a fan. “Jericho or Triple H. I’m going to go on a whim and say Jericho and myself would be out of this world. I admire his work so much inside and out of the ring.”

“Mike is a hard worker, with a bright future,” says Thomas Brewington of the Indy Card Mafia. “He has all the tools to make it to ‘the show,’ and has earned everything he’s been given to opportunity to attain.”

Orlando currently holds the Sanctuary Heavyweight Championship, the UPWA Carolinas Championship, and the IWA Vintage Heavyweight Champion. He’s a regular at Sanctuary, ECPW, UPWA, EVOLVE, and CZW. “People can see me work everywhere. You never know where I will show up next. I pride myself with having as many matches a week as possible.”

Time will tell of his Wrestlemania dream can come true. Orlando knows it won’t come easy, and he remains grateful for everything that has happened thus far. “I hope in the next five to ten years I’m blessed to be doing this amazing job on a main stage. I want to make a living off of this forever. As long as I’m doing so, I’ll be happy.”

Fans can follow Mike on his website, therealeliteathlete.com. You can also find him on Facebook and see many of his matches on Youtube.